/How to clone your ESXi SD card for backup

How to clone your ESXi SD card for backup

In this How to clone your ESXi SD card for backup, I will explain how to clone your SD card(or USB) from your ESXi for backups purposes. If you don’t have a dual SD card controller, this is something handy for a quick restore of your system.

In my case, I have an 8Gb SD card on my HP server with vSphere 7 U3, but not only the SD card is small(recommendation is that we use at least 16Gb for vSphere 7) the SD card is showing some write/read issues. So it is better to replace now before a disaster happens.

So we can use this process not only for backups purposes but also to move your old SD Card 8Gb to a bigger one(at least 16Gb). If you are not planning to use local disks or other local devices, and if you still have 8Gb SD Cards, you should and must move to a 16Gb SD Card(or bigger).

For restore purposes, we know that installing and configuring an ESXi is a 30m/40m task, but sometimes we need to have a quicker option to restore your system and put it online again.

We need t to create a copy of our SD card first, then restore it to the new SD card. For this, I will use the open-source tool USB Image Tool. This is a small tool that will do the trick.

Insert your ESXi SD card in the card reader and launch the tool.


I will clone a vSphere 7.0 U3 SD Card installation.

As we can see in the following image, my SD Card is 8Gb and will replace with a 16Gb SD Card.

First, click the Backup option.

How to clone your ESXi SD card for backup

Select a path and name to save the file, and save it

How to clone your ESXi SD card for backup

Remove the source SD Card, and add the Destination SD Card.


Before you continue, go to options and enable the Fix GPT after Restore so that partition uses the original enumeration.

How to clone your ESXi SD card for backup

As we can see in the following image, I have now a 16Gb SD Card

Click the Restore option.

How to clone your ESXi SD card for backup

Select the file to restore

Confirm the restore, and that is it.

Your ESXi is now cloned, and you can save it for Restore in case of a disaster or replace your SD Card.

I have inserted the 16Gb SD Card in my Server and checked ESXi partitions.

As we can see in the above images, all is good and working, and even the extra space is shown as free space.

Note: I am still testing how to use/add that free space on the root partition. This new vSphere 7 partition layout works differently.  It’s possible to select or change the size of the VMFSL on ESXi Install Boot, not after.

As we can see above, It is very straightforward How to clone your ESXi SD card for backup or to swap your SD Cards.

Share this article if you think it is worth sharing. If you have any questions or comments, comment here or contact me on Twitter.

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By | 2022-03-27T01:28:19+01:00 March 27th, 2022|VMware Posts, vSphere|4 Comments

About the Author:

I am over 20 years’ experience in the IT industry. Working with Virtualization for more than 10 years (mainly VMware). I am an MCP, VCP6.5-DCV, VMware vSAN Specialist, Veeam Vanguard 2018/2019, vExpert vSAN 2018/2019 and vExpert for the last 4 years. Specialties are Virtualization, Storage, and Virtual Backups. I am working for Elits a Swedish consulting company and allocated to a Swedish multinational networking and telecommunications company as a Teach Lead and acting as a Senior ICT Infrastructure Engineer. I am a blogger and owner of the blog ProVirtualzone.com


  1. John 30/06/2022 at 16:56

    This is cool. wish I saw this earlier. we used Clonezilla to do the same thing. Nice writeup. Definitely going to try this on one of our hosts.

    • Luciano Patrao 30/06/2022 at 22:14

      Hi Jonh,

      Thank you for your comment.

      Never used Clonezilla to clone an ESXi SD Card. Does it work properly? Have you tried and tested the new SD card and it works without any issues?


  2. John McCarthy 13/07/2022 at 21:01

    Yes Clonezilla saved our bacon when we were experiencing the bootbank disconnects in 7.02. My boss purchased sd cards from HP, we cloned the original host sdcard to the newer HP sdcard, went seamless. Only issue was we had one 64 gb card, that host had to be rebuilt.

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